Thursday, February 07, 2013

Elegant Scarcity, 30 Years of War, or Both?

News that the DHS has put in an order for another 21.6 million rounds of ammuntion inspires two thoughts.

One, enunciated by Scooter Oi.

Considering the current shortage on the civilian end, huge government purchases would be an elegant way of keeping it scarce and the Proles relatively defenseless.

And two, enunciated at American Digest’s Side-Lines.

To put that in perspective, during the height of active battle operations in Iraq, US soldiers used 5.5 million rounds of ammunition a month. Extrapolating the figures, the DHS has purchased enough bullets over the last 10 months to wage a full scale war for almost 30 years.

Elegant scarcity, 30 years of war, or both?

Posted by John Venlet on 02/07 at 03:07 PM
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Beats Smelling an Infection Out

Back in 1976, my father suffered a burst appendix while in Dallas, TX.  For some reason, my Dad made the decision to fly home, which at that time was in Philadelphia, rather than check into a Dallas hosptial.

When my Dad arrived in Philly, and walked off the plane, he looked dead.  Gray and cadaverous, and it about freaked me out.  My Mum too.  His burst appendix had caused him to be stricken with peritonitis, which in turn morphed into multiple infections.  Dad was in a bad way.  He spent 30 days in the ICU, and on a number of occasions we thought we would lose him.

I vividly recall being in the ICU with my Mum when the infectious disease Doc came to evaluate my Dad, and determine which course of antibiotics should be administered.  Though of course they grew cultures, one of the first things the infectious disease Doc did was smell my Dad’s abdomen.  He removed the bandages covering my Dad’s belly incisions and stuck his nose right down close and sniffed.  I couldn’t believe it.

I was reminded of this again just this past week, when my Mum developed an infection in her recently operated on knee, which required a return to the hospital.  When the infectious diseases Doc came by to evaluate my Mum’s infection, we related the story of my Dad and the infection sniffing Doc which had treated him.  My Mum’s infectious disease Doc then related a story to us, which occurred during his residency, wherein during a presentation on a particular infectious disease a doctor put his nose above a petri dish growing an infectious disease culture and sniffed.  This particular Doc ended up infected by this inquisitive sniff, and died.

Which leads to the reason for this post.

EVERY day, doctors prescribe antibiotics based on an educated guess about which bugs are causing the symptoms they see before them. Sometimes they guess wrong and it can take days or even weeks for tests to identify the true culprits. In the meantime, people are taking ineffective drugs, contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

A solution could come in the shape of a machine capable of identifying all bacteria, viruses and fungi known to cause infectious disease in humans. Tests of the PLEX-ID universal biosensor suggest it is more accurate than the standard method, which involves growing the offending pathogen in a dish and then identifying it by its shape and characteristics.

Universal bug sensor takes guesswork out of diagnosis

Quite an interesting development, reminiscent of a Star Trek Medical Tricorder, which has been alluded to previously, such as in this developmemt.

Linked via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/07 at 11:04 AM
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